When it comes to pet names, great minds seem to think alike — that’s why you meet so many furry friends with the same names. In fact, the number one pet name among Cuteness.com pet profiles has been the same for four years straight: Bella.
That’s right, for both dogs and cats, Bella is the most popular pet name for our community. And it’s not just Cuteness.com members who love the adorable name. According to PetCareRX, Bella was the most popular dog name every single year between 2006 and 2012.
So Why Bella?
It’s possible that pet owners are just attracted to the name’s lovely meaning (it means “beautiful” in French), but the timing of the name’s rise in popularity (as PetCareRX points out, it barely moved the meter before its explosion in popularity in 2006), points to a Twilight connection. Stephenie Meyer’s mega-hit vampire/romance saga first hit shelves in 2005 and the film series ran through 2012.
And if fans were inspired by Twilight to name their pets Bella en masse, it wouldn’t be the first — or last — time a pop culture phenomenon impacted a pet name’s popularity. PetCareRX noted in 2013 that pop culture played a huge role in pet name choices. Katniss (aka The Hunger Games’ Girl on Fire) became a hugely popular name for female cats, thanks in part to the popularity of the franchise and, we have to assume, in part to the amazing pun factor.
Other pop culture-inspired names that PetCareRX reported as popular in 2013 include Lily (which has a trifecta of inspiration points, including How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, and, of course, Harry Potter), Tigger (a Winnie the Pooh classic that’s always a popular name for cats), Rocky (as in Balboa), Simba and Nala (always popular names for cats, thanks to The Lion King), and Honey Boo Boo (yes, after the reality TV/child pageant star).
As a prospective pet owner currently trying to decide between “Voldemort” and “Burt Macklin” for my future dog’s name, I get it. We love to name our pets after other things we love — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Main image: Kristen Stewart (Getty Editorial) | Cuteness Pet Member, Bella the Chihuaua